Curt Schilling Calls it a Career

Mar 23, 2009

 
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Curt Schilling announced his retirement on  his 38 Pitches blog saying  “Turn out the lights the party’s over”.

One of the first thoughts that arises is whether or not he’s Hall of Fame material.  I’ve weighed in on this before, so let me restate my position.

The Numbers
Played 1988-2007  (20 Years)
569 Games
436 Starts (83rd All-time)
3261 Innings (94th All-time)
216 Wins (79th All-time) - 146 Losses
.597 Winning Percentage
3.46 ERA (4.41 League ERA)
1.137 WHIP (44th All-time)
3116 Ks (14th All-time)
83 Complete Games
20 Shutouts
22 Saves
4.38 Strikeout to Walk Ratio (2nd All-time)
127 Adjusted ERA (42nd All-time)

Three 20 Win Seasons
Five 200 K Seasons
Three 300 K Seasons
Four sub-3.00 ERA Seasons
Two sub-1.00 WHIP Seasons

Playoffs:  3 World Series Rings, 19 Starts, 133.3 Innings, 10-2 (.833 Winning %), 2.23 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 120 Ks, 4 Complete Games

Awards

1993 NLCS MVP
1995 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
2001 Babe Ruth Award
2001 Branch Rickey Award
2001 Hutch Award
2001 Roberto Clemente Award
2001 TSN Pitcher of the Year
2001 World Series MVP
2002 TSN Pitcher of the Year
6 All-Star Game Appearances
Cy Young Votes in 4 Seasons (three-time runner-up)
MVP Votes in 4 seasons

Top Ten Finishes

Wins – Five Times (Led league in 2001 & 2004)
Winning % – 6 Times (Led league in 2004)
ERA – 9 Times
WHIP – 11 Times (Led league in 1992 & 2002)
Strikeouts – 9 Times (Led league in 1997 & 1998)
Innings – 7 Times (Led league in 1998 & 2001)
Starts – 5 Times (Led league in 1997, 1998 & 2001)
Complete Games – 11 Times (Led league in 1996, 1998, 2000 & 2001)
Shutouts – 11 Times

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
Black Ink: Pitching – 42 (33) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
Gray Ink: Pitching – 205 (34) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching – 46.0 (48) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching – 171.0 (33) (Likely HOFer > 100)

I don’t even know why there is a debate.  Seriously.  His postseason heroics alone are enough to put him on the brink of the HOF.  His career numbers do the rest.  He wasn’t just a compiler either.  He put together some fabulous seasons, as evidenced by his Top Ten finishes.  His control for a power pitcher is unrivaled.  His 4.38 Strikeout to Walk Ratio is second only to Tommy Bond (who only had 879 Ks), and ahead of the likes of Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and the list goes on.  He won over 200 Games at nearly a 60% clip.  He has over 3100 Strikeouts.  His ERA is almost a full Run lower than the league average.  He never won the Cy Young, but was the bridesmaid three times.  He may have won 20 games just three times, but Wins aren’t always the best indicator.  By my standards he had outstanding years in 1992, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2004.  Not to mention his postseason dominance.  That is what makes his legacy legendary.  Even before the bloody sock, Curt was known as a big game pitcher.  He was brilliant in the 1993 ALCS helping the Phillies earn a trip to the World Series.  He was even more spectacular in the 2001 Diamondback’s improbable run to the World Series.  He went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 18 Ks in the NLDS as Arizona beat St. Louis.  He was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 12 Ks as they beat Atlanta.  In the World Series against the heavily favored Yankees, he went 1-0 in 3 Starts with a 1.69 ERA and 26 Ks.  He pitched well in the 2002 NLDS, but was cut down by St. Louis.  Then came the historic 2004 season.  He pitched well in defeating the Angels, but injured his ankle.  He got bombed by the Yankees in his first start before gutting out Game 6 and helping keep the comeback alive.  Then he pitched 6 scoreless Innings as the Red Sox steamrolled the Cardinals to a curse-reversing World Series win.  He won three of his four starts (including another World Series win against Colorado) in the 2007 Red Sox World Series run.  The Hall of Fame looks kindly on postseason heroics.  When you couple it with an outstanding regular season career, I don’t get the debate.  Curt Schiling is a Hall of Famer in my book. 
 
References
Baseball-reference.com
Baseball Library

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